Traverse City native and HGTV host Carter Oosterhouse is using his building skills for a very great cause. Founder of Carter's Kids non-profit, he's working with volunteers to build playgrounds. And what started in northern Michigan is now expanding across the country.
Swings and monkey bars: simple things students at Academia Del Pueblo in South Central Phoenix could only imagine. But Carter's Kids is making their small dreams a reality.
"It goes beyond the playground," said Martin Flores, Friendly House Chief Operating Officer. "It means a lot to them because most of these kids come from environments where the word new is not a common word... 'new' ... About anything."
It's a school bought for just a dollar nearly 20 years ago, where 99% of its students rely on a free lunch. For many, it's the only meal they will get that day. But with necessities many of us take for granted, the spirit of the community comes alive in these childrens' eyes... Eyes filled with utter excitement. And after days of hard work, the volunteers finally get to give the kids what they have anxiously been waiting for.
"The most rewarding part of all of this is to see the looks on their faces -- especially when they're kids of this age," said Robert Githens, Lowe's Volunteer.
"It's fun getting your hands dirty and building this playground, but to see these kids faces light up it's like the best Christmas present they could ever ask for," said Amy Smart, actress, Carter's Kids volunteer and wife of Oosterhouse. "They just get so excited and they just want to play and have fun."
"I cannot express in words just how thankful... I'm just so thankful to these volunteers," said Gabriel Sandoval, Academia Del Pueblo Principal. "They came in, they just donated their time, their energy, their minds, to put together and make this happen in a matter of two days... is just amazing."
"Building these playgrounds on such a regular basis all over the country -- it's important for kids to fight childhood obesity," said Carter Oosterhouse, founder of Carter's Kids and HGTV host. "We see at an alarming rate how kids who are stagnant -- they don't have some of the mental and social skills necessary, because they don't have playground equipment to play on. So, not just the physical, but also the mental aspect of what playgrounds do for kids is pretty substantial. It's pretty amazing."
To see the BIG REVEAL click the video above.
Click HERE to watch an exclusive interview with Carter Oosterhouse and find out how you can bring Carter's Kids to your town.